From time to time it is good to take stock of our lives, and the beginning of the year is probably a good time to do so.
Those who have done hiking will appreciate the value of traveling light. A hiker has two main considerations; space and weight. Hence, everything that goes into the backpack is evaluated against those criteria. As the backpack becomes fuller, and it is obvious that the items scattered around won’t all fit in, the question arises, “Do I really need all of this?”
Prioritizing is the obvious solution. First, the essentials, then the things that are necessary and useful, then the things that would be good to have (just in case).
We would do well to do the same with our cluttered, busy lives. The more we carry, the sooner we become irritable, fatigued and, eventually, worn out.
As we stop, evaluate, and repack our lives, our main criteria will probably be our time and our energy. How much time will we spend on each aspect, and how much energy will be required to accomplish all we intent to do. And so the repacking starts. Job, family, domestic chores, friends, sport, entertainment, studies. And oh, we almost forgot our relationship with the Lord.
I have a plaque on a shelf in my bedroom. It says, “Live simply, love deeply.” It reminds me to travel light through life.
Jesus may not have had ‘Live simply, love deeply’ as His motto, but He certainly lived according to that principle, and taught His disciples to do the same. “Take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff …” he told them as he sent them out.
Live simply. What simplicity means to each person is very different and personal, and each one needs to carry what they themselves have packed into their rucksack of life. However, it may be worth remembering that when we reach the end of our earthly journey and cross the river into eternity, the rucksack stays behind.
After some consideration, the rucksack is finally repacked and bulging with activities, and somehow we have managed to secure the straps so that nothing drops out. Then, as if the going is not going to be tough enough, we look for extra baggage (which we feel entitled to) and strap it on the outside. Unforgiveness, jealousy, regrets, bitterness. We may even clip on a set of self-imposed restrictions and, of course, guilt.
The Pharisees were masters at burdening people with restrictive rules they had made up (Luke 11:46). But Jesus cut right through all their red tape and highlighted just two laws: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27.
Love deeply. Love with all your heart.
Love helps us to travel light. We trade our emotional baggage that weighs us down for the love of Jesus that lifts us up. The love He pours into our hearts helps us to love and accept ourselves, and then love and accept others in the same way.
Remember, the more baggage we insist on carrying, the less space there is for His love. The capacity of the heart is limited, so store in there only what is good (Luke 6:45).
As you take time to repack your rucksack, consider the time you spend on each aspect of your life. Will it make a difference in this life; will it matter in the next? Also, check whether there is emotional baggage that is weighing you down. If so, leave it behind. And then move on, light and free!